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LaSalle Men’s Basketball Looks Toward Postseason This Year

La Salle head coach John Giannini. (AP Photo)

La Salle head coach John Giannini. (AP Photo)


The Explorers were on the verge last year. Led by head coach Dr. John Giannini, LaSalle finished 17-16, (8-10 in the conference). Going into his 12th season, the winningest coach in school history is looking to run the Atlantic-10 gambit to the postseason once more.

Giannini pointed out at the A-10 Media Day how close the line is between winning and losing seasons.

“We beat the so-called top teams, we lost to the teams whose records was not as good, on their homecourts,” Giannini summarized. “There is no shame in that. That’s how hard this league is. That’s where we lost our season.”

Giannini comes into this season with three transfers red-shirted and a lot of second year players. But, he has a stud star among them in Jordan Price, who averaged 17.2 points last season. Giannini is salivating over what he will be in his junior year. “Visually, he is cut up and in great shape and strong,” the head coach shared. “He can score, we know that. But we challenge him to change that. He can defend, he can pass, and compete for rebounds. He’s always been gifted. He soaks everything he can to make himself better.”

By demanding much of themselves, Giannini knows he has natural leaders. He understands how important it is for stars to set the pattern for a team.

“If your best players lead by example, they are leaders by default,” Giannini pointed out. “Your best player sets the bar for everything else.”

Giannini believes he has everything he needs to make a run for the goal, a return to postseason lands. He has enough size, good guards, and talent.

“In practice its like starters against starters,” Giannini assessed. “We went from being a little inexperienced to very experienced and deep. We have enough players to have a really good rotation this year, talented enough to win now.”

Giannini knows athletic big men are important and he is not over matched there. He has Tony Washington, a 6-10 center and roughneck Rohan Brown, a 6-6 guard/forward he compares to Dennis Rodman. He feels these two are physically gifted and can be productive. “Tony is pushing 6-11, very bouncy, very strong in the weight room and on the court,” Giannini shared. “People will underestimate his strength because he’s not a bulky guy.”

As for Rohan Brown, who already owns a communications degree, in this, his last season, should not have trouble expressing himself on the court. “He is focused on being the toughest guy in the Atlantic 10,” Giannini explained. “He’s going to take charges, rebound, fight, guard a guy five inches taller and not let him get the ball. Those things wins games.”

But the key to LaSalle success will be predicated ultimately by the guard play. This is the essential part of the package for winning programs. “Big guys are a luxury but guards win at college basketball.”

Giannini is confident in the first to second year improvements in his players. He has all his guards returning. “I think they are significantly better. A year of learning,” he said. “Last year was their first day on the job. Now they know.”

LaSalle has a great track record in the A-10 but they are aware that no one opponent can be overlooked. Giannini compared his team to blue-blood programs that have an advantage in recruiting pools. But he likes what he has. “Its hard to be one of the best teams in the country,” Giannini proclaimed. “But that’s what we aspire to do. We did it in the past and we can do it again.”


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